Thursday, 11 May 2017

A Couple of Experimental Squads

So as the X-Wing meta shifts away from Aces, and since I've recently been catching up on purchases (I may have been a couple of waves behind) I've decided to build some lists experimenting with a couple of ships.

Scum Experiment

  • Dengar
  • Punishing One
  • Unhinged Astromech
  • Recon Specialist
  • Adaptability
Here is the Main Attacker of the list. His job is to put in most of the work damage wise. Recon Spec should give him a focus for his attack and a spare one for his retaliation . If he falls then the squad will struggle, but the other two should help prevent that.

  • 4-LOM
  • Veteran Instincts
  • Zuckuss
  • Mist Hunter
  • Tractor Beam
  • Collision Detector
A decent Secondary Attacker, he also offers Stress and Tractor based control elements. He is able to help put in work on the damage side of things, with the option of moving opposing ships via Tractor Tokens. I even have the option of using adaptability to make him and Dengar the same Pilot Skill, so that the Tractor Beam can be used before Dengar fires.
His ability to give away his stress is also very useful.

  • Unkar Plutt
  • EMP Device
  • Spacetug Tractor Array

And here is the truly experimental part. While he offers little in the way of offence (2 dice is merely okay),  His ability to block and give out Tractor tokens, alongside the Array to do it as an action should mess up with the opponents positioning and agility. The EMP Device is there as a "Just in Case", should a turn of Ion based control be needed.

This list was built to try out the Quadjumper as a blocker, so needed some muscle to put with it. The upgrades on Dengar were largely thrown together, so there is probably the most wriggle room on that ship to make changes. 4-LOM is fine as is, so it's a case of learning to block with Plutt and getting the optimal version of Dengar with the points left.

Rebel Experiment

  • Horton Salm
  • Twin Laser Turret
  • R2 Astromech
Firstly, a solid damage dealer. Susceptible to focus fire, you keep him out of the fight at Range 3 and use his ability to keep up a steady stream of damage. Simple, efficient, to the point.

  • Lieutenant Blount
  • Veteran Instincts
  • Adv. Homing Missiles
Another simple ship. His job is to choose a priority target, get a target lock and then give them a face up damage card. After that, he can block and add some shots. His missiles always hit, so hopefully the opposing damage deck will be unforgiving.

  • Bodhi Rook
  • Pivot Wing
  • Dash Rendar
  • Tactician
  • Collision Detector
The first experimental ship. My theory with the U-Wing is it is simply an X-Wing with more health and upgrade space. It's even similar in points and the title gives it the same agility! Bodhi's ability helps Blount get the target lock on the right target. Tactician gives a little control to the list too. Dash is there to deal with the larger base size.

  • Captain Rex
  • Sabine's Masterpiece
  • "Chopper"
  • Dead Man's Switch

The other experimental ship. Rex's job is to block, grant Suppressing Fire and then do some damage when the opponent finally decides they've had enough of his existence. Hopefully, by being ignorable in the early game, his Suppressing Fire helps mitigate some damage.

These are the lists I'll be trying out on Thursdays for a while, and tuning them until I am happy they are optimised, or they have proven to be wildly unviable.

A Plea for Content

I'm just about managing to do a post once a week on this Blog, and multiple posts if I miss a week. I'm even getting better at adding photos to break up the wall of text that my writing style throws at the screen. This is a symptom of my reading preference. I enjoy reading, so a lot of text doesn't bother me when I encounter it elsewhere, as long as it is saying something interesting. However, I recognise that adding pictures breaks things up a bit and makes the post look better. So I'm going to do it more often.

You're Welcome :)

 What I am struggling with is topics. What do people want to read?

Anyone who knows me can ask tactical advice or gaming opinion, and they know I will either tell them I don't know anything on their topic or I will tell them EVERYTHING. If I know (or believe I know) about a topic, then I can be quite vocal and willing to lecture. But only when prodded.

They may never shut up once you do
It's a personal thing. I'm not one for sharing information unsolicited, or much in the way of self-promotion, but once asked I'll do my best to answer a question. It's something I need to work on, especially as I push more into Events Management. And it's fairly useless being a Fount of All Knowledge with a blog if you don't say things. 

So, am asking you; my reader base. What do you want to read? You probably know by now what games I run events for, and what games I personally play. Maybe something from this list
  • Battle/Game Reports
  • Tournament Reports (as a Player)
  • Tournament Reports (as a Judge/TO)
  • Deck/Army/Squad Techs
  • Strategy Advice
  • Tactical Advice
  • Theory crafting
  • Spotlights on Board Games I've played
  • Opinion Pieces on News
  • Rants 

These are some of the things I could and should be posting about. It comes down to what you guys want. Do you have a burning tactical question you want my advice on? Ask me here, there may be others that want to know the same thing.

As an example, I had been asked to write about Deployment for Genestealer Cult Armies in 40K. Before I was able to start researching and writing a piece, Games Workshop announced 8th was going to feature a lot of changes to the game. This has caused me to hold off for the moment, as any advice I give may no longer be sound after the rules change. And said change is rapidly approaching.

So, TL:DR - 

Send me questions, topic ideas and anything else you want to see from this blog.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Amonkhet Prereleases

To kickstart my attempt at collecting Amonkhet, I decided to attend the first prereleases I'd been to in a year.

I haven't really played much Magic in the past couple of years. I haven't really felt like playing the themes in Standard. I did a little bit of playing before GP Manchester and played the Oath of Gatewatch prerelease simply because I was visiting a friend. I also played the occasional Modern FNM.

So, i guess the question is; How did it go?


I could tell it had been a while once I had opened my boosters. It feels like very little in the set is "vanilla" which means every card needs to be read and evaluated. Even though I had paid some attention in Spoiler Season, this felt quite daunting. So I rapidly settled on something that had caught my eye.

I had opened this card in foil, alongside a suite of Black Zombies, White Zombies, some removal, both on-colour Monuments and Embalmer's Tools. This lead me to disregard the other colours, although 2 of my on-colour split cards had Green Aftermath halves.

I struggled to cut the deck down though. Ended up running 47 cards.

1 x Fan Bearer
1 x Sacred Cat
1 x Time To Reflect
1 x Festering Mummy
1 x Embalmer's Tools
1 x Trial of Ambition
2 x Doomed Dissenter
1 x Destined to Lead
1 x Impeccable Timing
1 x Prepare to Fight
1 x In Oketra's Name
1 x Glory-Bound Initiate
1 x Anointer Priest
1 x Binding Mummy
1 x Bontu's Monument
1 x Oketra's Monument
1 x Those Who Serve
1 x Unwavering Initiate
1 x Cartouche Of Ambition
1 x Cursed Minotaur
1 x Lord Of The Accursed
1 x Painful Lesson
1 x Wander In Death
1 x Wasteland Scorpion
1 x Sparring Mummy
1 x Final Reward
1 x Painted Bluffs
1 x Sunscorched Desert
1 x Forest
7 x Swamp
9 x Plains

The result? A mess. The deck (and my pool) had no real bombs. I was relying on the Zombie synergies, and often had to try and mill an opponent out with the Embalmer's Tools. I probably should have cut down to 40 cards and had a tighter deck.

I did learn a few things though.
Glory-Bound Initiate is pretty good, but it's size gets out-stripped pretty easily.
The Monuments look good, but rely on your ability to cast creature spells afterwards. Between running two and facing a few throughout the day, I felt they were more trap than good card. Maybe a more reliable deck would get better use out of them, but I didn't event feel bad facing them.
Aftermath cards seem really good. It was worth splashing the Green mana for both Fight and Lead. Destined, then Lead on a Wasteland Scorpion did a pretty good job of sweeping one opponents board. Attacking with the Glory-Bound Initiate, Exerting and then casting Prepare after blocks killed one creature and gained me 6 life, then Fight post-combat killed another creature and gained me 6 more life at the cost of the Initiate.

All in all, I had fun but didn't do very well. I did feel that I had learnt lessons that would be useful on the Sunday.


Ready for a go again on the Sunday, my first booster showed me this guy

Followed shortly by this lady

Interesting. Two bombs, both in the same colour. Question was, can the rest of the pool support these two, or would I be forced to abandon them for other cards?

1 x Ruthless Sniper
1 x Horror Of The Broken Lands
3 x Wasteland Scorpion
1 x Liliana, Death's Majesty
2 x Soulstinger
1 x Cursed Minotaur
1 x Watchers Of The Dead
2 x Final Reward
1 x Cartouche Of Ambition
2 x Trial Of Ambition
1 x Archfiend Of Ifnir
1 x Nest Of Scarabs
1 x Splendid Agony
2 x Painful Lesson
1 x Scarab Feast
1 x Supernatural Stamina
1 x Destined to Lead
1 x Cradle Of The Accursed
1 x Grasping Dunes
1 x Evolving Wilds
1 x Painted Bluffs
1 x Forest
12 x Swamp

How did it do?

Fantastically. Went undefeated with this deck. It had a mix of Cycling Synergies and -1/-1 Counter Synergies.

With enough Cycling in the deck, Ruthless Sniper lives up to his name, even allowing me to shrink a Seraph Of The Suns down to 1/1 the turn it entered the battlefield.
Similarly, the Archfiend is as good as it looks. It is truly a Bomb.
Destined to Lead was still worth the Green Splash.
Trial, followed by Cartouche is as good as Wizards intended.
Nest Of Scarabs isn't optional, which is awkward when you have been enchanted by Trespasser's Curse. Careful play saw me through though.
The utility lands are really useful
Only drew Liliana twice. First time I had 9 cards left in deck, so used her to reanimate something and won the game before deck size became a problem. Second time, I was so far ahead it wasn't worth casting her. My opponent was mana screwed and I was a couple of turns from winning, so all she would have done is made my opponent feel bad.

I'm loving the set. Really enjoyed playing the Sealed, even when I was losing. I can't wait to see what the Hour of Devastation brings.

The Results Are In

Belated posting, been busy with work and life. Let's get things back on track.

This past Sunday I held my third 40K Tournament. It did well, we got 12 players. The scenario was  Maelstrom of War: Tactical Escalation. Here are the results;

  1. Jack Lambourne, Tzeentch Daemons. 3 wins, 46 points
  2. Ian Atrill, Orks. 3 wins, 32 points
  3. Mike Pooley, Necrons. 2 wins, 1 loss, 30 points
  4. David Newby, Sisters of Battle. 2 wins, 1 loss, 26 points
  5. Charlie Bennett, Ynnari. 2 wins, 1 loss, 25 points
  6. Ron Gargett, Alpha Legion. 1 win, 1 loss, 1 draw, 17 points
  7. Alfie Bennett, Homunculus Covens. 1 win, 2 losses, 34 points
  8. Chris Tucker, Necrons. 1 win, 2 losses, 20 points
  9. Josh, Space Wolves. 1 win, 2 losses, 26 points
  10. Macaulay Uniack, Raven Guard. 1 win, 2 losses, 7 points
  11. Les Harvey, Dark Angels. 2 losses, 1 draw, 19 points
  12. Kyle Clements, Blood Angels. 3 losses, 27 points
There is a nice spread of armies, with only one repetition. Which is the pattern so far. All three events have had a duplicate faction. Interestingly they have been a different faction and different players each time.

Jack's Daemons have won back to back events. I believe part of this is there ability to swarm the table via Summoning and rapidly overwhelm opponents. Especially as they usually start the game outnumbering them. It's something a lot of forces can't deal with unless they are set up to deal with it, which may cost them against others. It was possibly a key to the success of the Orks as well. Mobs of boyz set up in trucks, an army of large-ish, fast moving units.

End of May sees a repeat of this event, while we await 8th Editions release and the discussion into how to move forward with these events once that has happened.

Thanks to everyone that came, I hope that they all enjoyed it and I'll be sending out the survey shortly